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Making Broadcast Business A Pleasure

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Readers of this magazine will recall the September issue describing how Provys (the leading provider of broadcast management software) scaled new heights in the land of Kilimanjaro, writes Pavel Vlasek, Project Manager, PROVYS.

After an intensive week prior to Christmas, the traffic system at Azam TV was up and running, bringing order and efficiency for all four channels covering the territories of Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Malawi, and Zanzibar (of course).

I was assigned to run the implementation project at Azam TV's headquarters located in the former Tanzanian capital city of Dar es Salaam. Following the old rule "business before pleasure", I planned to spend a few days in Zanzibar after a successful implementation of our software solution. In this article, I decided to keep the rule and to start with the business part of my trip.

Azam TV is a digital satellite service provider offering top quality family entertainment at an affordable price. It was founded in Tanzania just a few years ago with the intention to expand across countries in Sub-Saharan Africa in the near future. Azam produces a wide range of programmes consisting of both international and local channels suitable for families, sports fans and people of all ages. Viewers receive the programmes using so called "AzamTV Box", a dedicated set-top box featuring HDMI output and USB port for recording. Currently, there are four Azam TV channels available. Azam One, a local family entertainment channel delivers news, popular drama, African movies, and children entertainment. Azam Two for international audience supplies favourite soap operas, documentaries, music, and movies. The third channel "Sinema Zetu" is a Swahili movie channel available to the targeted audience 24/7. Last but not least, Azam Sports is an HD channel broadcasting not only Tanzanian Football League matches but proudly presenting British Premier League, Spanish La Liga, and more.

Initially, Provys presented the whole range of their broadcast management modules including production and resource planning, programme scheduling, rights management and advertisement sales. Azam TV selected for the primary installation the broadcast scheduling and rights management modules. Inevitable parts of these modules are content management database, programme acquisition solution and long term programme planning. Several weeks before the Provys software package was implemented, I went to Azam TV for one week system analysis. It was obvious straight at the beginning that a special attention must be paid to self-promotion workflow. It would be a blameworthy fault having four channels and not using cross-channel promos. And there were more areas worth special care during implementation: customised EPG export, interface to Harris playout automation (today Imagine Communication), ingest list generation, ingest file metadata import (especially time codes), etc. The power of a real traffic system rests in workflow management. The ingest workflow may be a good example. According to a detailed schedule, Provys automatically sends an ingest request waiting for a message from the playout server that the task was accomplished. Then Provys receives all necessary metadata and the particular programme may be flagged with green colour as ready for playout.

At the beginning, Azam TV had been using standard Microsoft software in an effort to control their broadcast administration processes but with the ever increasing complexity, it soon became apparent that more sophisticated management tools would be required. A major attribute of Provys software is that numerous operators can work in the same module, on the same project and even on the same playlist page, at the same time. This facility enables multiple sharing opportunities, simultaneous teamwork, without the usual delays. Real-time information regarding the validity of content rights is available to all users at all times. Rights contracts usually contain options to use the given content for a set number of broadcasts within a given timeframe. Historically, it has been all too easy to miss the deadline and lose the opportunity to broadcast a re-run prior to expiry. Provys rights management software monitors all rights and deadlines and prompts the station when a rights expiry is approaching, allowing them to fully utilise the content within the validity terms.

"When selecting an appropriate system for our organisation, paramount amongst our considerations was the ability of the new system to grow along with our own development objectives and at the same pace. Another important task was to deliver consistent content across all channels. Easy planning procedures including live programmes were of critical importance. Therefore, we selected Provys as the system which most perfectly matched our demands," said Ms Stellah Adams, Head of Planning, Azam TV.

The system was commissioned on Friday 18 December, ready for its launch on 1 January 2016. And I was free to take a boat to Zanzibar, the island of my dreams. In December, the days are sunny with often clear skies and pleasant temperatures from the mid-twenties to the low thirties. White sandy beaches and beautiful azure-blue waters of the Indian Ocean are symbols of Zanzibar. The colours of the sea are breath-taking, especially in the morning. If swimming is the priority for you, choose your destination carefully. Not all beaches in Zanzibar comply with such requirement. Almost monolithic coral reef at the eastern coast creates a large but very shallow lagoon with wide, white sandy beaches and coastal palm groves. Wonderful scenery. It is a great place for those who like to discover hidden life of the sea world. For those who welcome challenges and pleasure that broadcast business brings.


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